MONTVILLE, NJ - Michael Conrad remembers the great feelings that the Montville wrestling team's sectional title run brought last season.
He remembers a raucous atmosphere in Montville's gym, and the way that everyone in the team's lineup came through bout-after-bout, racking up pins while cruising to a dominant victory over Old Tappan a year ago.
And after top seed Montville's 53-18 win over fifth seed Paramus on Wednesday night in the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 3 semifinals, the Mustangs have earned the opportunity to make more history in a sectional final. It will host second seed River Dell on Friday at 6 p.m. at Montville Township High School, as Montville looks to claim its third sectional title in program history, and its second in a row.
“Last year was probably one of the best moments of my life," Conrad, now a senior captain, said. "Everyone went out there and was just pinning every kid. The whole student section was full. Not all the younger kids know how big of a match this is, but they’ll realize when they see the crowd is packed and there will be no more room in the school. It’s just an exciting moment, a great moment for everyone on our team and our school.”
Montville is back in the final thanks to a mostly dominant performance against Paramus, which saw the team earn six pins, with Aaron Kurzer (113), Justin Ciliotta (126), Thomas LaScala (160), Noah Fox (170), Zach Stolz-Illge (182), and Michael Conrad (195) all winning via pin.
Daniel Salzano (145) picked up bonus points as well, with a technical fall, which saw him win 21-6. In total, Montville won 10 of the 14 bouts, as it lost by pin at 138 and 220.
But one match that set the tone for the rest of the night was Brian Glasser's come-from-behind victory at 132.
After Ciliotta started off the match with a pin over Paramus' Tyler Falen in 1:19, Glasser went up against Aidan Amaro, and found himself trailing through most of his bout, up until the final 30 seconds. He trailed, 5-4, before earning a big reversal as well as some back points to give his team a nice boost early on.
“I was down, and I was just like, I can’t lose this match. It’s too important," Glasser said. "I just put my mind in it, and I worked hard, got the reversal and back points and that was it.”
“Starting off the match with bonus points is special," Conrad added. "We preach that every day in practice. We say it before every match after we warm up, bonus points, bonus points, bonus points. Just pound it in their head, so they know the situation. Glasser just came up big there, and everyone else did at the bottom of the lineup. It was a proud moment for us and it definitely helped us.”
Karl Monaco also earned a victory for Montville at 120, as he picked up a 12-5 decision over Steven Ciambrone.
Now, the focus turns to Friday night's match against River Dell, where Montville will look to continue what its seniors from last season started, as it will try to add another banner to the walls of its gym.
“It means a lot," Conrad said. "The seniors before us strived for this, to get it two years in a row. As a captain now, I think as a team overall, we’re just so proud and happy to be here.”
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